Study Reveals that Untreated OSA Results in Increased Utilization and Costs Among Medicare Beneficiaries

Research Provides Insights into the Adverse Economic Effect of OSA Among Older Adults.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with significant economic burden to patients, payers, and society. But most research has been conducted among middle-aged adults, and little is known about the economic effect of OSA among older adults.

A recent study examined the effect of untreated OSA on health care utilization (HCU) and costs among a nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries.

Titled “Older adult US Medicare beneficiaries with untreated obstructive sleep apnea are heavier users of health care than matched control patients” and authored by Emerson M. Wickwire, Sarah E. Tom, Aparna Vadlamani, et al., the study appeared in the January 2020 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

It revealed that relative to control patients without sleep-disordered breathing, Medicare beneficiaries with untreated OSA demonstrated markedly increased HCU and costs across all points of service, including outpatient encounters, inpatient stays, ED visits, and prescription medications.

The study is the largest of its kind to date, identifying 10,317 OSA cases and 276,874 control patients meeting eligibility criteria between 2006 and 2013, resulting in a total sample of 287,191 beneficiaries.

The authors recommend additional research to evaluate the economic effect of OSA treatments among older adults.

To read the full journal article, click here.


Wickwire EM, Tom SE, Vadlamani A, et al. Older adult US medicare beneficiaries with untreated obstructive sleep apnea are heavier users of health care than matched control patients. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 2020;16(1):81-89. doi:10.5664/jcsm.8128

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Apria is a leading provider of home healthcare equipment and related services across the USA, offering a comprehensive range of products and services for in-home care and delivery of respiratory therapy, obstructive sleep apnea treatment, and negative pressure wound therapy, along with additional equipment and services.